#AskMeAmes: ‘What are some venues to get into the Ames music scene?’

The crowd engages with The Depaysement during their set at Deano’s as the final performance of Maximum Ames Sept. 30.

Trevor Babcock

Two weeks ago, we asked you: What do you want to know about the Ames music scene?

Live performances bring people together to bond through music. With live music happening weekly in Ames, there’s plenty of opportunities to connect with others passionate about music.

Students at Iowa State may be familiar with the Maintenance Shop and Stephen’s Auditorium, venues that host touring artists all throughout the year. For music events on campus, keep an eye on the Student Union Board’s calendar, but downtown on Main Street exists the three pillars of the Ames music scene.  

For over 10 years, DG’s Tap House has been a go-to spot for traveling bands as well as local Ames artists. Doubling as a micro tap house and event space, the bar has the perfect atmosphere to begin immersing yourself in the Ames music scene no matter your tastes.

The venue is known for its welcoming environment and receptive audience. Several bands based throughout the Midwest make a point to play at DG’s Tap House when they can, taking appreciation in the venue’s hospitality and engaging crowd.

The British pub London Underground hosts a wide range of music events in a low-key and comfortable setting. The venue is focused on more singer-songwriters than full band acts due to its smaller size, but multiple genres are welcome. However, a full rock band isn’t likely to be seen at London Underground as opposed to DG’s Tap House.

“Our role is to compliment, a little bit, what they do,” said Bryon Dudley, promotions director for London Underground.

Once a month the bar puts on Live at London, featuring an established blues, Americana music act. The London Underground is also home to a more alternative showcase series from Ames record label Nova Labs.

The last Monday of every month is home to Bartop Burlesque, which includes burlesque dancers performing in tandem with a local band. A new and sporadic event called London Underground’s Odd Night Out is designed for performers a little bit “rough around the edges,” says Dudley.

Formerly known as Deano’s 119 Main, at The Angry Irishmen, you can expect free live music at 9 p.m. every Friday.

“We’re striving and achieving local music,” said Dan Gill, manager of The Angry Irishman. “We’re putting an emphasis on local music and showing people what’s available in town.”

The Angry Irishmen stands out with no cover charge and frequent open mic nights. The dive bar atmosphere associated with The Angry Irishmen is not a negative, Gill said.

“It is a dive bar atmosphere,” Gill said. “‘Dive bar’ these days isn’t really a negative term, it’s more of an endearing, local community term. The emphasis on friendly, local and community is what I think resonates with people.”

Beyond the main street bars, you can look forward to the yearly Maximum Ames Music Festival every fall. Last year’s festival brought over 60 local and traveling music acts across downtown Ames.

For keeping up with local music events, venues in Ames keep their Facebook pages updated for all upcoming shows.